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Don’t be fooled by fake IRS emails or letters

FARMINGTON — Every year, taxpayers are bombarded with emails and letters claiming to be from the IRS and asking for personal information. The subject titles on many of these emails suggest the IRS is trying to contact you because they have a refund for you. These are commonly referred to as phishing scams.

Phishing is a term used to describe emails that are “fishing for information” and “hooking” victims. The content of these messages “lure” readers into believing that the IRS needs information from them. The IRS has issued several recent consumer warnings on the fraudulent use of the IRS name or logo by scammers trying to gain access to consumers’ financial information in order to steal their identity and assets through emails and letters.

These scam messages are used to trick readers into providing sensitive information. Scammers typically request bank information or credit card numbers so readers can “pay their tax due” or “receive their refunds.” Unsuspecting persons become victims of identity theft.

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What do you need to know to keep safe? The IRS will never request financial information, passwords, PINs or any other sensitive information from you via email. The IRS sends paper notices to taxpayers to discuss tax account information. Never provide your bank information to someone via email!

If you ever receive one of these phishing emails, do not reply! Do not open any attachments—they might contain malicious code that could infect your computer. Also, do not click any links provided in the email. These websites could also give your computer a virus or malware.

Cynthia Ferguson, CPA is a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals. Visit ferguson1.com for valuable information and resources.

Cynthia Ferguson, CPA, PC, 155 Main Street, Farmington, ME 04938

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